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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Beating Traffic Cams, New Biz Grants, Food Prices to go higher

Bruce’s Poor Man Survival Bulletin
A Digest of Urban Survival Resources
ISSN 2161-5543

In This Issue:
1.       Seasteading – a new expatriate dream?
2.      Beating Red light traffic cameras
3.      18 ways to reuse plastic bags
4.      New business grant and funding sites
5.      Food prices climbing and expected to rise even more

“Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing it is always from the noblest motive.”
— Oscar Wilde

Wanted:  Freedom…alternatives for a new country
   The Poor Man has been repeatedly asked about which country offers the most freedom.  The number of expatriates continues to grow despite new rules which make it more expensive and time consuming for one to renounce their citizenship (fees begin at $450 plus ‘escape’ taxes and the average wait is two years).  The US is the only country which pursues its citizens living in foreign countries for income taxes, even from children of Americans who’ve never set foot inside America.
The IRS is now demanding that banks in Canada go after the college accounts of children of US born citizens who might not have paid taxes.
Currently, there are no lands available for settlement, unless you’re equipped for space travel.  Over the years the concept of floating countries has been circulated but this group is the only one with a viable plan.

From the website for the Seasteading Institute...
"At The Seasteading Institute, we believe that experiments are the source of all progress: To find something better, you have to try something new. But right now, there is no open space for experimenting with new societies. That's why we work to enable seasteading communities -- floating cities -- which will allow the next generation of pioneers to peacefully test new ideas for government. The most successful can then inspire change in governments around the world. We're opening this new frontier because humanity needs better ways to live together to unlock our full potential.
"Seasteaders believe that government shouldn't be like the cell phone carrier industry, with few choices and high customer lock-in. Instead, we envision a vibrant startup sector for government, with many small groups experimenting with innovative ideas as they compete to serve their citizens' needs better.
"Currently, it is very difficult to experiment with alternative social systems on a small scale; countries are so enormous that it is hard for an individual to make much difference. The world needs a place where those who wish to experiment with building new societies can go to test out their ideas. All land is already claimed -- which makes the oceans humanity's next frontier."

Seasteading would offer an opportunity for true experimentation. The idea is to get away completely from existing states and let new arrangements flourish and compete with one another...much like the original American experiment before Lincoln's war put an end to that.
We've run out of existing frontiers to try that sort of it looks like it's time to create new ones literally from scratch.

The Seasteading Institute was founded by none other than Patri Friedman, grandson of Milton Friedman.

When your doctor writes you a prescription, always ask if he or she has samples you can try for the first month in order to save money.

PM’s Compendium of Useful Resources

There are a number of great organizations across the country designed to assist entrepreneurs. There is not, however, a single organization in Washington that focuses on the unique legislative and regulatory challenges of start-up companies.

It’s not easy to fund a business, unless you’re ready to jam those credit cards at loanshark interest rates, or your Uncle Warbucks dies and leaves you a fortune. As you weigh your options, don’t forget Kickstarter, the new site that lets you post a project and seek direct investment from the public.

Love a Local Business Grant Competition
Software developer Intuit wants you to hire local and be liked by your community.  The firm’s “Love a Local Business” program offers funding for small businesses through March 2012.  During the past 18 months it has awarded hiring grants with awards ranging from $500 to $25,000.  Nominate yourself or another business.  Learn more at:

100 Urban Entrepreneurs is a young, nonprofit organization devoted to fostering entrepreneurship among minority and low income communities in America’s largest cities. Taking off in 2010, the foundation hosts events where entrepreneurs can pitch startup ideas to judges, mingle with other aspiring entrepreneurs, confer with mentors and apply for startup funding. 100 Urban Entrepreneurs has currently allocated nearly $1 million dollars to 48 startups with the goal of eventually supporting 100 startups. However, the money is not necessarily the most important part of the organization. Most participants believe that the ability to share their ideas and receive feedback has been a priceless contribution from the foundation

Preparing for autumn weather
Early fall is the time of year to prepare your house for the cooler weather just around the corner. Most people know to clean their gutters and seal openings around windows that can leak heat. But there are other less obvious measures you'll need to take to keep your home in tip-top shape inside and out.
Here are 5 tips on getting your home ready for Fall:
1. Crank the heat.
"You forget your heating system when it's summer. But believe me, you'll notice if it doesn't work right in the winter," says Ed Del Grande, host of Do It Yourself Network's "Ed The Plumber."  More at:

Stock Up on Fall Produce and Save
Make the most of in-season season brings makes being in the kitchen more appealing. Use the season’s bounty to make fruits and vegetables with these satisfying, low-cost recipes
Farmer’s markets are bursting with fresh produce in the fall, and the slight chill in the air that the these delicious, easy recipes.

Cash Strapped cities look to traffic enforcement for revenue offers this one clarifying definition: "A 'speed trap' exists wherever traffic enforcement is focused on extracting revenue from drivers instead of improving safety."
It's estimated by that $7.5 to $15 billion is generated annually from tickets for government agencies and insurance companies, which is more money than many states take in from taxes! offers this one clarifying definition: "A 'speed trap' exists wherever traffic enforcement is focused on extracting revenue from drivers instead of improving safety."
It's estimated by that $7.5 to $15 billion is generated annually from tickets for government agencies and insurance companies, which is more money than many states take in from taxes!

Thwart Red Light Traffic Cameras
If you live in a city that hasn't made the right choice of eschewing these Orwellian cameras, here are a few tips to help you:
Log on to This gives you an interactive map of numerous cities and areas where red light traffic cameras are installed, allowing you to plan your route accordingly.
You can also try license plate covers, screens, and even sprays – if legal in your area. They all attempt to provide a similar solution: making photographs of your license plate unreadable and helping you avoid getting a ticket in the mail or a collection agency calling your home. offers contact lens at prices even cheaper than WalMart

18 ways to reuse plastic bags

Here in the U.S. alone, we use around 100 billion plastic grocery bags every single year. While some cities have banned the bag, most of us aren’t lucky enough to live in a town that’s nixed those ubiquitous, flimsy grocery bags.

Dental schools can save up to 70% on procedures - find a school near you at:

The Nanny State Updates…

The IRS is making a worldwide push to squeeze money from Americans living abroad and from anyone who holds dual citizenship, whether they know it or not. It doesn't matter if the "duals" want U.S. status, have never set foot on U.S. soil or never conducted business with an American. It doesn't matter if those targeted owe a single cent to the IRS. Unlike almost every other nation in the world, the United States requires citizens living abroad to file tax forms on the money they do not owe as well as to report foreign bank accounts or holdings such as stocks or RSSPs. The possible penalty for not reporting is $10,000 per "disclosed asset" per year.

Thus, Americans and dual citizens living in Canada (or elsewhere) who do not disclose their local checking account -- now labeled by the IRS as "an illegal offshore account" -- are liable for fines that stretch back 10 years and might amount to $100,000. A family,  in which there are two American parents and two dual-citizen children, might be collectively liable for $400,000.
Approximately 7 million Americans live abroad. According to the IRS, they received upward of 400,000 tax returns from expatriates last year -- a compliance rate of approximately 6%. Presumably, the compliance of dual-citizen children is far lower. Customs and Immigration is now sharing information with the IRS and, should any of 94% expats or their accidentally American offspring set foot on U.S. soil, they are vulnerable to arrest.
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA; it was a revenue-raising provision that was slipped into one of Obama's disastrous stimulus bills. Starting in 2013 -- or 2014 if an exemption is granted -- every bank in the world will be required to report to the IRS all accounts held by current and former U.S. citizens. If account holders refuse to provide verification of their non-U.S. citizenship, the banks will be required to impose a 30% tax of all payments or transfers to the account on behalf of the IRS. Banks that do not comply will "face withholding on U.S.-source interest and dividends, gross proceeds from the disposition of U.S. securities and pass-through payments."

The true hope lies in a worldwide refusal to comply. The only power strong enough to rein in the United States is the world itself.  Source:  The Whiskey Rebellion

Clean shower door tracks using a screwdriver with a cloth wrapped around the pointed end.  Spray first with your favorite cleaner.

The Parting Thought – Food Prices Expected to Rise More

Food Giant ConAgra just announced they have raised prices on 90-95% of their products thanks to skyrocketing costs of food basics--everything from flour to corn to sugar to meat. And they warned that they expect food inflation to jump another 9-10% in 2012!
Families are paying $1,300 a year more this year for groceries than they did two years ago--and the worst is yet to come. 

>>Economic growth in a large number of developing countries, which increases the demand for a wide variety of food products. For example, when a country becomes wealthier, its citizens eat more meat, and that increases demand for feed grain crops, and on and on.
>>Poor harvests in some large food-producing countries such as Russia (droughts), Australia (floods) and the US (floods in some areas, record drought in others).
>>Increased demand and shrinking supply—a classic equation that leads to higher prices.
>>Increased cost of fuel that is needed to power machines for harvesting, planting, shipping, etc. that then get passed on to consumers.

But part of this food inflation crisis lies at the foot of the Federal Reserve. Does Chairman Bernanke ever shop at a supermarket?
When the Fed flooded our economy with trillions of cheap dollars in the past two years, more money became available for investing.
Where did a chunk of those "new" bucks go? Into commodities. And that helped drive up commodity prices and the stock market.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The world economy has entered a "dangerous new phase," according to the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund. As a result, the international lending organization has sharply downgraded its economic outlook for the United States and Europe through the end of next year.

The U.S. economy faces longer-lasting problems that go beyond high gas prices and disruptions caused by the Japan crisis, the IMF said.
Employers are adding few jobs and giving out meager pay raises. Many homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Banks are keeping credit tight.

Investors are pulling a huge amount of money out of stocks right now. Do they know something that we don't? The following is from a report in the Financial Post....
Investors have pulled more money from U.S. equity funds since the end of April than in the five months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., adding to the $2.1 trillion rout in American stocks.

About $75 billion was withdrawn from funds that focus on shares during the past four months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the Investment Company Institute, a Washington-based trade group, and EPFR Global, a research firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Outflows totaled $72.8 billion from October 2008 through February 2009, following Lehman’s bankruptcy, the data show.
The Average Joe does not pay attention to world finances.  The sad fact is, however, it affects us in several ways.  Nearly everyone can see the toll inflation is taking and that the days where the American dollar rules supreme is becoming rather limited.

Yours in freedom, the Poor Man.

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1 comment:

MinimalistGroup said...

Another outstandingly useful piece - thanks!